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Iowa's top teachers honored. Special guest? 1958 Teacher of the Year!
Iowa's top teachers honored. Special guest? 1958 Teacher of the Year!
Iowa Department of Education
Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Date: 
Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Gov. Reynolds, Lt. Gov. Gregg helped deliver awards

DES MOINES – Eleven of the state’s top teachers were honored for their service during an annual luncheon in Des Moines. Iowa Department of Education Director Ryan Wise was joined by Gov. Kim Reynolds and Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg in hosting the Outstanding Iowa Teachers Recognition Luncheon.

Past, present and future! 2018 Iowa Teacher of the Year Aileen Sullivan, 1958's Jean  Listebarger Humphrey and 2019's Christopher Burke were honored during the Annual Outstanding Teacher Luncheon in Des Moines.
Past, present and future! 2018 Iowa Teacher of the Year Aileen Sullivan, 1958's Jean Listebarger Humphrey and 2019's Christopher Burke were honored during the Annual Outstanding Teacher Luncheon in Des Moines.

The event included a special guest: Iowa’s first Teacher of the Year from 1958, Jean Listebarger Humphrey. Humphrey also was named the National Teacher of the Year in the same year. Humphrey taught second grade at Edwards Elementary School in Ames. Read more about Humphrey in an article that appeared in the March 1958 edition of McCall’s magazine, which was then sponsor of the National Teacher of the Year award.

“Before differentiated instruction had a name, Mrs. Humphrey was addressing the unique needs of each of her students,” Wise said. “She was known for her ability to connect with parents and families and to bring learning to life for her students.”

The luncheon recognized finalists and winners of the Iowa Teacher of the Year award, the Iowa Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching, and the State History Teacher of the Year award (names and schools are listed below).

Reflecting on her tenure, 2018 Teacher of the Year Aileen Sullivan said she’s loved her travels across the state.

“Different community groups have spoken to me about the teachers that they loved and their happy memories of school,” she said. “It turns out that even though I thought I had the best 3rd grade teacher ever, some out there think they had the best 3rd grade teacher!

Christopher Burke, the 2019 Iowa Teacher of the Year, gave the keynote speech.

“It is humbling and an honor to serve the state in this capacity and I look forward to celebrating all that our educators have to offer their communities,” he said.

The luncheon was hosted by the Iowa Department of Education. Sponsors included the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, the National Science Foundation, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History.

The Honorees

Iowa Teacher of the Year

  • Award-winner: Christopher Burke, Eleanor Roosevelt Middle School, Dubuque Community School District
  • Finalists: Leigh Ann Erickson, Mount Vernon High School, Mount Vernon Community School District; Kristine Howes-Vonstein, Vinton-Shellsburg Middle School, Vinton-Shellsburg Community School District; and Shelly Nash, West High School, Sioux City Community School District

Iowa Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching*

  • Mathematics Finalists: Natalie Franke, Brookview Elementary School, Waukee Community School District; Deborah Little, Denver Elementary School, Denver Community School District; and Chris Mathews, East Elementary School, Ankeny Community School District
  • Science Finalists: Lisa Chizek, North Tama Elementary School, North Tama County Community School District; Katie McGrane, Margaretta Carey Elementary School, Waverly-Shell Rock Community School District; and Jill Payne, Jefferson Intermediate School, Pella Community School District

State History Teacher of the Year

  • Award-winner: Kimberly Meller-Angus, Northview Middle School, Ankeny Community School District

*State award-winners have not yet been announced by a national selection committee.